‘Small Business Saturday' Drives Shoppers to Local Stores

In San Diego, small neighborhoods like North Park and South Park are known for their unique local businesses

After the Black Friday blitz, San Diego residents turned their attention – and wallets – to shopping local during “Small Business Saturday.”

Consumers took to the streets of small, eclectic neighborhoods such as North Park and South Park in San Diego’s Uptown area to shop for those perfect holiday gifts while supporting local merchants and the local economy.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria kicked off Small Business Saturday at Pigment, a family-owned shop located at 3801 30th St. in North Park that specializes in art, flora, furniture and other quirky, thoughtful gifts.

The shop is the brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Chad Anglin and Amy Paul, who aim to showcase goods created by San Diego artists and artisans.

Gloria stressed the importance of shopping small, and urged San Diegans to shop locally at neighborhood businesses not just on Saturday, but throughout the holiday season.

“Small businesses are the backbone of San Diego’s economy and integral parts of each neighborhood’s character,” said Gloria in a prepared statement. “Buying from local businesses is a way to support local jobs and provide unique gifts for your friends and family members. Take a day off from the hysteria of malls and fighting for parking spaces, and walk or bike to shops in your neighborhood.”

In the North Park community, 30th Street is home to a multitude of mom-and-pop shops, cafes and restaurants. On Saturday, some of those businesses offered special deals to visitors.

But, in North Park, the local bargains don’t end on Small Business Saturday.

According to the 30th Street website, the community is currently running a program called “30th on 30th,” which focuses on highlighting independent businesses along the street by offering specials at local eateries and bars on the 30th of each month.

Most specials start between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and include a feature appetizer for $3. The specials change every month, with the latest updates posted on the 30th Street website.

This month, for example, Ritual Kitchen & Garden/Tavern is offering a $3 pork poutine appetizer and $3 cans of certain specialty brews. On the front patio of Sipz Vegetarian, patrons can enjoy a pad Thai or orange chicken with rice dish for $5, crispy pot stickers for $3 and all house wine and beer for $3. Tornado brewery is pouring seven Sierra Nevada drafts for $4 all night.

By the way, 30th Street has been hailed as one of the nation’s best streets for craft beer, so suds are typically included in these monthly specials. Another fun fact: North Park was ranked one of America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhood's by Forbes last year.

Over in South Park, small businesses also reign supreme, with more than 40 independent retail shops, restaurants and cafes that focus on local products and fare.

Many of those businesses are located on 30th and Fern streets, with some on Juniper, Grape, Beech and Kalmia streets as well. A full business directory for the area can be seen here.

On Saturday, San Diego councilmember and mayoral runoff candidate David Alvarez planned to visit the community in support of this year’s Small Business Saturday.

“I’m a true supporter of our small mom-and-pop shops, entrepreneurs and innovators that are the backbone of San Diego’s economy,” said Alvarez in a media release. “I look forward to being out on National Small Business Saturday to celebrate and promote the contributions they make each and every day.”

Alvarez planned to visit South Park’s Big Kitchen Café, the So Childish boutique, Progress South Park, the Make Good shop and Eclipse Chocolate during his excursion. He planned to buy Christmas gifts for his daughter along the way.

Again, the main focus in the South Park business community remains on locally-produced goods.

Popular shops such as Make Good – which is located at 2207 Fern St. – pride themselves on highlighting local artisans and offering handmade items that are truly one-of-a-kind, including jewelry, clothing, art and home goods.

The shop’s website cites a 2012 study by Civic Economics concerning how much revenue stays in the local economy if consumers choose to shop local.

According to the figures, a typical nationally owned retail chain keeps 13.6 percent of its revenue in the local economy, while a locally-owned retailer typically keeps about 48 percent of its revenue in the local economy.

Make Good says it’s able to keep more than 75 percent of its revenue in the local economy because 100 percent of products are sourced locally.

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